They'll still be earning less than the minimum wage but as of next year IDF
soldiers will enjoy a significant salary bump. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
has decided to raise active duty soldiers' salaries by 21%, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
Soldiers' salaries have been frozen since 2002.
Currently, non-combat soldiers earn NIS 352 (roughly $97) a month while combatants earn NIS 700 (roughly $193). After the pay raise, non-combat soldiers will earn an additional NIS 1,000 (roughly $276) a year and combat troops will add nearly NIS 2,000 to their annual salary.
The move is set to cost the Defense Ministry some NIS 170 million (roughly $47 million) a year but it is expected the ministry will later ask for help in funding from the Treasury. The Justice Ministry is backing the move.
In closed talks, Ya'alon said that freezing soldiers' salaries will deepen the divide in Israeli society in terms of equal share of the burden. "If the State of Israel
owes anyone, it's foremost to its soldiers," he said.
The issue of equal share of the burden lay at the heart of the latest election campaign. Several bills on the matter have been presented to the government including one initiated by Environment Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua)
who is proposing to match the salaries of third-year soldiers to the minimum wage.
Last week saw Ya'alon announced the allocation of NIS 60 million off the defense budget as bonuses for reservists.
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